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3 Ways Boomers Can Protect Their Online Identities

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Like most Baby Boomers, I really want to protect my online personal data from computer hackers and identity thieves.   But I’m struggling finding the right solution.

As a tech consultant, I constantly talk to the 50+ crowd about protecting passwords.  Boomers and Seniors everywhere tell me they use the same log-ins and passwords for numerous accounts.  They also admit that they keep them written down on a list next to their computer.

Using the public Internet

In addition, this group—me included, often logs onto the Internet in coffee shops, hotels and airplanes without knowing or remembering how to check for secure websites.  I often can’t read the small print on public log-in pages so I just click yes and proceed.  Yikes!

So how vulnerable are we?

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Just recently, Geoff Kenyon, an SEO consultant, sent me this Digital Security Quiz  to help me test my own digital vulnerability.  It’s really easy and takes under a minute to complete. They are all yes and no questions.   When I finished, I received a warning sign that I had six major security risks.  However, I was given simple ways to remedy my risks, all with links to videos for more explanation.

I stepped into action, putting safeguards in place.  I also checked   the U.S. government’s security site for a basic three minute video security review.

Password Protection Managers

My 30-something son has been telling me for quite a while to sign up for a password protection manager to eliminate the “remembering” issue.  I tried a few free sites but didn’t like them.  They didn’t always work, some didn’t accept the two step process of my bank and they seemed too much of a hassle.

3 Ways Boomers Can Protect Their Online Identities image Suzie on laptop 264x300My Test Score Frightened Me

However, now that I’ve taken the security quiz and had my vulnerability flashed in front of my face I’m suitably scared.  So it’s time for a change.

Two Options Available

  • Option A–Create more secure passwords—that means using a combination of numbers and letters and not using the same ones all of the time.   Changing them often, writing them down and storing them away from your computer.
  • Option B—Use an easy to remember formula described below.
  • Option C—Use a Password Protection Manager

Using a Password Protection Manager takes Perseverance; they aren’t  kind to Boomers

Boomers be forewarned.  Using these programs takes a lot of determination.  There is a large learning curve.  Plan on spending time watching the tutorial videos–sometimes more than once. Try out the free versions before committing to paying for one.

No recommendations

I tried several password protection managers –all recommended by the editors of PC Magazine, .  I found them all difficult to use, especially when it comes to banking where multiple user names and passwords are needed.

So far, I’m not a fan.  Maybe one day, someone will make them “intuitive” for our generation.

My Plan

Personally, until password protection managers are easier to use, I’m using Option B, a formula my son suggested:

  • Pick three or four numbers that are easy to remember; like a former address, or birthdate of a loved one.
  • Add some familiar initials to the numbers.
  • Complete with the website name added at the end.
  • Use the same number/letter combinations with all of them and just change the individual websites.

Options A and B may not be as ironclad as Option C—but they are workable and doable—and both better than the less secure methods favored by many Boomers.

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